The Spectacle Blog

2006 vs. 1994

By on 10.19.06 | 11:37AM

The National Journal's Chuck Todd describes five ways in which the 2006 elections are similar to the 1994 elections, and five ways in which they are different.

One big difference that he doesn't mention is that with just a few weeks to go before the election, Democrats still haven't offered anything akin to the "Contract With America." The closest they've gotten is the "New Direction For America," but that's not much of a revolutionary governing agenda rooted in a clear ideology, it's more of a laundry list of liberal pet causes: raising the minimum wage, cutting college costs, making health care more affordable, etc. However, it still could be enough, because another difference between the two elections is that in 1994, Republicans needed to gain 40 seats to take control of Congress (they ended up gaining 52), but this year Democrats only need 15.

Immigrant Army

By on 10.19.06 | 10:53AM

Max Boot and Michael O'Hanlon have co-authored an op-ed for the Washinton Post of the "kill two kill birds with one stone" genre, arguing that the U.S. should offer a military path to citizenship, thus addressing both the immigration issue and armed forces recruitment problems. (The article mainly focuses on addressing the latter, and doesn't suggest that it will solve the former, only that "it could provide a new path toward assimilation for undocumented immigrants...")

The biggest problem I had with their piece was this argument:

UA, UN, Whatever

By on 10.18.06 | 3:58PM

Ok, I never thought I'd see the day when I not only agree with but dang near cheered for what a WaPo columnist wrote. But today's piece by Ruth Marcus is worth a standing O.

I've flown a few airlines lately, and it's not just a case of some being better than others. Yes, Northwest is fine. Delta is very good. But United? Well, let's put it this way: if there are any differences between United Airlines and the United Nations (in quality of service and value returned for what we spend) I've been unable to discover it. CEO of United would be a perfect retirement job for Kofi. Security, as maddening, time-consuming and misdirected as it may be, is a trivial inconvenience compared to UA.

Re: Yankee Big Rod

By on 10.18.06 | 3:32PM

I agree the Yankees fell short (again) mostly because their pitching was inadequate, but think about this: if the $252-million pay-boy had done just one-half -- or even one-third -- of what Big Papi did for the Red Sox in 2004, don't you think the Bronx Bomb-outs would have defeated Detroit? Instead he ended up batting eighth!

Re: Yankee Big Rod

By on 10.18.06 | 12:52PM

Wlady, you make my point exactly. The playoffs are won on pitching, which is why you you don't go out of your way to spend all of your money/resources acquiring sluggers like A-Rod, Sheffield, Giambi, Abreu, etc. The Yankee teams from 1996-2001 were true "teams" built on solid pitching, stellar defense, and incredibly clutch hitting--not just a collection of all stars. Yes, they also had a high payroll, but they depended on contributions from guys like Scott Brosius, Tino Martinez, Paul O'Neill, etc. Check out the 1998 roster, the year they won 114 games and virtually swept through the playoffs--probably the only two hall of famers on that team were Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. A-Rod, the $252 million man, perfectly symbolizes what the Yankees have become in the past five years--overpaid, great during the regular season and unable to deliver when it matters.

Yankee Big Rod

By on 10.18.06 | 12:17PM

Phil: Why is everyone always picking on Alex Rodriguez, one of the finest players of our time? He's become the Don Rumsfeld of baseball, belittled and loathed for not pulling off the impossible and blamed for problems out of his control. The Yankees lost to Detroit not because A-Rod didn't hit. They lost because their starting pitching was lousy. As Yogi Berra should have told George Steinbrenner, 90 percent of baseball is pitching. Only the other half is hitting.

But go ahead, Phil, get rid of Rodriguez. I hear Drew Henson is available to replace him.

Let’s Get Back to Washington!

By on 10.18.06 | 12:12PM

The latest Matt Taibbi bit trying to unravel the apparent enigma of whether or not Democrats will behave like mad partisans should they retake one or both houses of Congress in Rolling Stoneposted online at AlterNet today—draws on the wisdom of that paragon of non-partisanship Charlie Rangel:

Among other things, the famed freshman class of 1994 was comprised to a large degree of young congressmen who ran against the institution of congress in their campaigns, promising to shun "Washington/>/> politics" and spend more time in their home districts...

Re: A-Rod to Cubs?

By on 10.18.06 | 7:54AM

Philip, as a Red Sox fan and an expert on choking, my team still holds the record for longest history because they won many more times to get into a position to choke, whereas the Cubs have for the most part been lovable losers who rarely got into serious contention where they could then blow it.

However, as I'm sure you are painfully aware, neither of the above teams holds the record for the single greatest choke of all time...